The Lemoore Tigers took over the driver's seat in the chase for the West Yosemite League boys basketball championship with a 62-61 win over the Mt. Whitney Pioneers Wednesday night in Lemoore.
Lemoore (14-9, 7-2) owns a game-lead over Mt. Whitney (13-9, 6-3) with three games left in the WYL schedule.
Down 61-60, Lemoore forced a Pioneer turnover with 13 seconds left. The Tigers scored with four seconds remaining to go up 62-61, and Mt. Whitney's last-second shot fell short.
"We always told ourselves that we controlled our own destiny [to win the WYL title], but now we need to get some help," Mt. Whitney coach Bob Aguilar said. "It's not going to get any easier. We have three tough games to finish with and we need to win them all to have a chance."
Mt. Whitney hosts Hanford West on Friday. The Pioneers visit Hanford on Tuesday, and host Redwood on Feb. 15.
Dannon Frigulti had 18 points and nine rebounds for Mt. Whitney. Garabed Kalanjian had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Tucker Mendonca added 11 points.
Redwood 53, El Diamante 52: Josh Carr hit two free throws in the last minute to secure a much-needed win for the Rangers in WYL action at Redwood High School.
Needing to win at two of its final three WYL games to advance to the Central Section Division II playoffs, Redwood (12-12, 4-6) scored the first one by avenging an earlier league loss to El Diamante (9-12, 3-6). The Rangers are at Golden West on Friday, and close the regular season Feb. 15 at Mt. Whitney.
"This group needs to continue on. Every team we face on our way is a possible roadblock, and we have to get through each roadblock to be where we want to be [in the playoffs]. The guys understood how important this game was, and they played with a lot of emotion," Redwood coach Darryl Hardwick said.
Ricky Ramirez had a game-high 14 points for Redwood. Mikey Montoya added 11 points. Raul Alvarez and Carr each had nine points.
J.C. Robles had 10 points to pace El Diamante. Tanner Faria added eight points.
El Diamante must win its final three games to advance to the Central Section Division II playoffs. Visalia Unified mandates that its athletic teams have a .500 overall or league record to take part in the playoffs.
Dinuba 63, Kingsburg 32: The Emperors remained in a tie for first place in the Central Sequoia League by almost doubling up the Vikings in Dinuba.
Javier Celestino had a team-high 14 points for Dinuba (19-5, 5-2). Ernesto Ruiz added 10 points, and Xavier Jones had eight points.
Orosi 43, Laton 40: Ronchel Ortal scored 24 points for the Cardinals during an East Sierra League win over the Mustangs in Orosi.
Orosi (14-8, 7-0) remained undefeated in league play with its eighth consecutive victory.
Redwood 77, El Diamante 31: The Rangers routed the Miners in a WYL game at Redwood.
Corissa Turley and Jasmine Black had dominant games for Redwood (19-5, 8-2). Turley had a game-high 29 points, and Black finished with 24 points.
Katie Reeve had 11 points for El Diamante (3-18, 1-8).
Golden West 3, Lemoore 0: The Trailblazers clinched at least a share of the WYL championship by blanking the Tigers.
Christian Ybarra, Jose Hernandez and Scott Hickam each scored for Golden West (16-3-1, 10-1). Tanner Cook posted the shutout.
Golden West hosts El Diamante in the regular-season finale on Friday. The match begins at 6 p.m.
If Golden West wins or ties on Friday, it wins the league title outright. El Diamante can forge a shared WYL title if it wins on Friday.
El Diamante 4, Hanford West 1: Evan House knocked in two goals to lead the Miners over the Huskies.
Also scoring for El Diamante (15-5-2, 9-2) were Francisco Flores and Joey Chica.
Mt. Whitney 2, Hanford 0: The Pioneers blanked the Bullpups in WYL action.
Wally Ramirez and Jose Solano each scored for Mt. Whitney (12-9-3, 7-4). Austin Aguiar had three saves in recording the shutout.
Mt. Whitney 2, Hanford 0: Rianna Chavez and Tatum Perez each scored second half goals for the Pioneers in a WYL win over the Bullpups in Hanford.
Chavez and Ellie Warmerdam each assisted a goal for Mt. Whitney (12-7-2, 7-3-1).
El Diamante 4, Hanford West 1: Four Miner goals kept the Huskies winless in WYL play during a league match in Hanford.
Ashira Santos, Sabrina Soliz, Marisa Lemas and Jessica Hale each scored for El Diamante (8-12-4, 4-5-2).
Lemoore 3, Golden West 0: The Trailblazers lost a WYL match to the Tigers in Lemoore.
Farmersville 30 Woodlake 18: Nate Mesa (182) improved to 32-4 overall with a pin for the Tigers in a loss to the Aztecs.
Aaron Canizalez (285) and Michael Castillo (120) also pinned their opponents for Woodlake.
JC Men's Basketball
College of the Sequoias 91, Reedley 56: El Diamante's Cameron Peck led the Giants with 21 points during a Central Valley win over the Tigers in Visalia.
Bill Borekambi scored 20 points for COS (17-8, 6-2).